Each of us have our own stress triggers. Whether it’s worrying about a work project or meeting, child care duties or personal issues, it’s important to identify what these are and how you can help yourself cope when needed. Self-care, one part of supporting your overall well-being, is active participation to maintain or improve your physical and mental health. There are many ways you can improve one or both components to help you feel your best.
Consider the benefits that self-care provides
Increasing your mental and physical health through self-care has many added benefits. It’s not just about helping you physical feel your best. Self-care can increase your quality of life and maximize your potential to achieve both work and personal goals. It can impact your happiness for not only yourself, but for those around you as well. Take a look at some easy ways below to start your own self-care routine, if you haven’t already.
Ways to engage in self-care
Many of these principles follow WashU’s 8Ways to Wellness, evidence-based ways to take care of yourself that were developed for our employees by our employees.
- Get enough sleep. It’s necessary for good health and helps reduce your risk for chronic illnesses, such as heart disease and mental health disorders. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night to wake up feeling energized and refreshed. Learn more about sleep’s role in your health and take action today.
- Participate in an exercise routine. Find something you enjoy to get your body moving. Exercise helps your body reduce anxiety and improve your mood. Check out some easy idea to get movitated today.
- Eat healthy and nourish your body. Eating healthy – fruits, vegetables, healthy proteins fats – gives your body the energy it needs to make it throughout the day. Watch your portion sizes and avoid too much snacking. Need help to create a nutrition plan? Schedule a free consultation with a WashU MyWay to Health wellness consultant.
- Create mindfulness activities to participate in. Self-care is about taking care of yourself, so do things you like or try new hobbies. Some ideas include walking, journaling, engaging in a gratitude practice, knitting, crocheting, reading, listening to music, gardening, photography or coloring. Mindfulness activities give us time to replenish our emotional needs and refresh our mindset. Learn more about our WashU Move into Mindfulness program.
- Build your own support system. Talk with your friends and family about how you’re feeling. Know you aren’t alone and it is likely you aren’t the only one struggling with issues. WashU provides multiple mental health resources, like our employee assistance program and access to our psychiatry experts, for employees and their families. The 8ways to Wellness also offers tips for families to participate together in wellness activities.
- Help others. Many people find helping others actually makes them feel better. Consider giving to the United Way of Greater St. Louis. You can also engage in service opportunities through the Gephardt Institute or find some in your local community.
- Take care of your space. Keeping your desk, car or house organized and tidy also reduces stress for many people and allows some control over your environment when things may seem chaotic.
- Follow your values and find peace. Find time for inter-peace or mediation to reduce stress. Spiritual connection has been found to increase physical health and overall well-being.
- Learn how to say no. Set your own work and personal boundaries and make sure to replenish your energy. This will help you maximize your energy, reduce stress and increase your potential on current and future commitments.
Find something that works for you and build a self-care routine. WashU offers employees many self-care and well-being resources, such as our employee assistance program, family care support and wellness connection classes. To view and access all of our well-being resources, visit the Well-Being Hub.